On the Road with Erin
This week, we had the chance to ride along with our Philly-area Sales Manager, Erin Gale, as she pounded the pavement in the King of Prussia/Conshohocken area.
A surprisingly springlike day — the high that day hit 78°– Erin toted samples around the western Philly burbs while the ice quickly melted in her trunk.
As our out-of-state representative, Erin works alongside our wholesale partners, coordinating as a team to provide beer to our quickly-growing Philadelphia fan base.
7:00 — Erin’s alarm goes off. She slaps it quiet and stays in bed until about 7:15.
7:15 — Gets up and starts getting ready for her day.
7:30 — Leaves for Wegman’s — her first stop, and where she’s meeting our blogger Scott in the cafe to tag along for the day.
8:30 — Bill calls. Erin learns that PA got the state approvals for Always Ready. She calls brand manager Brian at Origlio to let him know that the approval is in. She sends the information out to his sales team. They discuss her inventory — what when out, how many kegs, how many cases — so she knows what to focus on for the day. Erin spends the morning “getting her act together” — planning her week and scheduling things out for the day.
9:02 — This Wegman’s is huge. Bottle shop, bar, cafe, and, of course, groceries.
“Tuesday, I was in New Hope, and it was a beautiful day,” she says. “Perfect for walking around with samples in my bag.”
Erin thinks that today will be a good day. Origlio just picked up a significant amount of inventory — Cape May IPA, IPA Nitro in sixtels, Always Ready, Devil’s Reach, Coastal Evacuation, Tower 23, and Biscuits and Honey.
“Origlio’s sales team is has been great to work alongside.”
The more aligned Erin is with Origlio, the better her day will be. On the phone, they’ll give her a rundown of who’s looking to see her. Erin has a role that’s a little different than most salespeople: your car salesman guides you through the entire sale, seeing you off onto the road. Until you leave the dealership behind the wheel of the car he sold you, he knows the sale isn’t complete. As an out-of-state salesperson, Erin has a different perspective on sales.
“I may get a commitment from someone, but until the sale goes through Origlio, it’s not a sale.”
9:41 — I hook Erin up with a case of Devil’s Reach and a case of Always Ready. She hadn’t had the chance to pick them up the last time she was in Cape May.
9:43 — Erin touches base with Origlio and learns that the decision-makers at our next stops are in today.
9:44 — We hop in her Subaru Impreza, throw on 101.1 FM, and hit the road to Paoli. “I’m so excited to have company today!” Erin says. “The good thing about this market — you’ll never run out of things to do here. It’s so dense, and there are great accounts.”
9:58 — Our next stop is at the Paoli Acme. Erin double-checks what they’ve sold in the past so she knows what to sell them this time around. They have IPA, so she’s looking to sell them some Coastal cans and Always Ready.
10:07 — Erin gets a commitment from them, so she texts Linda at Origlio to tell her to add a case of Coastal and Always Ready to their next order.
This is a big volume store, and we’ve sold quite a bit out of there. They have limited space — their cold box is stuffed to the gills, so to sell anything at all out of this store is a triumph for Erin.
10:10 — We head to Acme in Devon.
10:19 — “Do you have any samples?” one of the managers asks. Of course, Erin has samples. They have Cape May IPA and Coastal Evacuation on the shelves, so she breaks out cans of Devil’s Reach and Always Ready.
“You like pale ales?” one manager asks the first.
“I’ll take it,” he responds.
“Oh, this one’s mine!” the second exclaims as Erin breaks out a can of Devil’s Reach.
10:31 — We hit the road again, heading to PJ Whelihan’s in Malvern. They open at 11, so this will work perfectly. Honestly, today is a beautiful day. The high is near 76˚, and Prince is on the radio. What could possibly go wrong?
10:59 — Arrive at PJ Whelihan’s. We each take a few minutes to catch up on email as the restaurant doesn’t open for another minute. Erin learns that one of the managers from the previous day’s trip to New Hope ordered a case of Always Ready.
This PJ Whelihan’s is gigantic. Malvern was essentially a stretch of woods ten years ago but has completely blown up in the past few months. We meet with the general manager, who’s happy to get a sample of Coastal for himself, but has handed over the reins of beer ordering to an assistant manager who’s not in. Erin gets his information and makes notes to stop back.
11:22 — We each get caught up in the parking lot, once again, before we head to lunch at Jasper’s Backyard in Conshy. They’re an existing account, but Erin knows better than to try to do business during the lunch rush, so it’s just a pit stop to show her face and give them some business before we head out again.
She emails the assistant manager at the PJ Whelihan’s as an introduction before we head off.
11:29 — Back on the road. “As Long As You Love Me” comes on the radio, met with a “Heck yes!” from Erin.
12:02 — We get to Jasper’s Backyard, a consistent IPA account. It’s a cool little spot, a bit off the beaten path in Conshohocken, a block off of Fayette Street, the main drag of the town. Two levels, rustic, with a compact yet inviting outdoor patio, this place will be hopping come summertime.
“We have Cape May on tap!” the hostess exclaims, happy to see us.
We sit and begin perusing the menu. The cocktail menu is primarily names of Phish tunes, so there are multiple reasons to rejoice.
“Three commitments before lunch,” Erin says. “That’s a good day.”
“I must be your lucky charm.”
“There’s something to be said for team selling,” she says.
Lunch is delicious. Erin has the veggie wrap, I get the chicken sandwich, and we split an order of fries — all are fantastic. Jasper’s goes through quite a bit of IPA, so Erin likes to show her appreciation by giving them the lunch business.
1:07 — We finish up lunch and head out, stopping to talk to the manager before we go.
“Yeah, I had one White Caps. I loved it, but now I can’t find it anywhere.”
“Well, we have sixtels of Snag & Drop — it’s the next in our Quarterly IPA series. It’s a triple, 10%,” Erin says. He seems impressed.
“Your beer is easy to sell, so it’s easy to buy,” he says.
These guys are going through a ton of our brews, and they’ve given us a second tap outside.
“When summer rolls around, these guys are going to be huge,” Erin says.
1:13 — We’re actually sweating today. 72˚ in February? Neither of us expected this. She cranks the air and we head out to the Lucky Dog.
1:37 — We ask if the bar manager is available, but he’s not in until 3. Erin leaves samples and lets the host know that we may be back.
1:41 — Back into the Impreza with Phil Collins’s version of “You Can’t Hurry Love”.
“This is a great version,” Erin says. (Agreed.) We hit the road to Fingers, Wings, and Other Things, and we can’t help but wonder what the other things are. Erin’s never met the manager, but she’s met the owners. We pump the air conditioning once again and hit the road.
1:51 — We arrive at Fingers, Wings, and Other Things. The manager wasn’t in, but we talk to the Assistant Manager.
“Cape May. Delicious,” he says.
It must be nearly as much fun to be the guy buying the beer as it is to be the one selling it. You essentially have people stopping by all day to give you beer.
2:13 — We stop in at Southern Cross, Erin’s first time there, and they already had Cape May IPA on Nitro from Origlio.
“Yeah, I love it,” the General Manager said.
They were in a meeting and asked us to come back. Erin got a business card and promised that she’d be in touch.
2:19 — Back in the Subaru, and “Rebel Yell” is on the radio — a little Billy Idol to get us back on the road to City Works. This is a huge beer bar, “like 90 taps,” Erin says. “I think they just bought something, so I want to go check on them. I think the Nitro IPA. People love it.”
Prince is back on the radio on the drive there — “Little Red Corvette”. Definitely a good sign.
2:45 — We get to City Works, and, man, this place is impressive. Outdoor seating, a bajillion taps, and it’s hopping at 2:45 on a Wednesday. Apparently, 75 people from Ryan Homes just decided to show up. There’s now a small town in at the King of Prussia Mall, complete with a number of restaurants and apartments — City Works is one of them.
The manager is in a meeting, so we decide to wait. As we’re sitting, one of the patrons notices my CMBC shirt and comes over to say hello.
“This one and this one are my favorites,” he says, pointing to the cans of Cape May IPA and Coastal Evacuation Erin’s got set up. “That Mop Water is great, too.”
3:02 — The manager comes out of her meeting and tells us that she has limited time to talk. This is a place where the limited editions and seasonals will sell well: it’s one of the few places we’ve seen that make it a point to carry sours.
3:18 — At Fox and Hound, all of the managers are in a meeting, but one comes out, graciously takes Erin’s samples, and says she’d be in touch.
3:35 — We head across the street to Yard House. They have Cape May IPA on right now, so Erin totes along samples of Coastal Evacuation, Devil’s Reach, and Always Ready.
Erin sees a sign advertising a Tap Takeover there from a popular local brewery. “I’d really love to get a Tap Takeover in here,” she says. “Maybe in, like, May. Just before the summer months.”
The manager is out that day, but we speak to the Head Chef. “Do you guys do Tap Takeovers?” he asks. “We’ve been looking to do more of them in the coming months.”
3:45 — We return to Wegman’s so that Erin can drop me off at my car.
In all, Erin had a good day — she closed out the day with four new package placements and the commitment for a second line at Jasper’s. She made a number of new contacts and got some valuable feedback. She didn’t get commitments from everyone, but she knows that some of the people today who didn’t bite immediately will likely be in touch.
She emailed us the next day to let us know how the rest of her night went.
5:00-6:00 — Sent all of her follow up work: a wholesaler recap and follow-ups to the folks we met.
6:00-8:00 — Remembered who of her friends has a roof deck and promptly invited herself over for dinner. Luckily, she always comes with beer. They enjoyed some Devil’s Reach and Always Ready on the roof, taking in the views of the Delaware and the Ben Franklin Bridge in the surprisingly spring-like weather. “I love the city!” she says.
8:30-10:00: Half-watched a movie that was playing on the TV and half-did crossword puzzles. Erin’s been on a big crossword puzzle kick since she got stuck at the airport this past Sunday and had only crossword puzzles for entertainment.
10:00 — Settled in to sleep. Erin’s got a big day out in Chester County the following day!